Roy Eldridge


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Roy Eldridge worked with Gene Krupa for a couple of years, then made a series of hot sides with a great seven-piece band, featuring tenor saxophonists Ike Quebec and Tom Archia. "After You've Gone" begins with a funny false-start introduction that Eldridge seems to have developed while working with Krupa. "The Gasser," a hot-to-trot walking blues, was based on the chord changes of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Also included here are two lovely, passionate ballads and an incomplete take of "Oh, Lady Be Good." The Esquire Metropolitan Opera House V-Disc Jam Session turned into a real all-star blowout on "Tea for Two," the conglomerated ensemble sounding pretty crowded by the time it works up to the out chorus. Eldridge's next adventure occurred with Lionel Hampton's V-Disc All-Stars. "Flyin' on a V-Disc" is, of course, Hamp's big hit "Flyin' Home." He hammers the vibes while saying "heyyy!' and keeps on saying it, clapping his hands and braying like a goat throughout all subsequent solos by the horn players, eventually leading the pack into an inevitable grandstand conclusion. The Little Jazz Trumpet Ensemble is heard on one of the earliest of all Keynote sessions, and the very first of producer Harry Lim's instrument-oriented dates, setting a precedent for the Coleman Hawkins Sax Ensemble and the Benny Morton Trombone Choir. Emmett Berry's inspiration was Roy Eldridge himself, while Joe Thomas patterned himself after Louis Armstrong. "St. Louis Blues" in particular is amazing. They work it up to a fine finish. Eldridge's working relationship with Decca Records bore fruit briefly in June of 1944 with another big-band date. This particular group included former Fats Waller trumpeter John "Bugs" Hamilton, ace trombonist Sandy Williams, and a pair of strong tenor players -- Franz Jackson and Hal Singer. Two dramatic ballads resulted, along with yet another patented stampede version of "After You've Gone." The orchestra assembled on October 13, 1944, had a formidable trombone section, as Williams found himself flanked by noteworthy slip horn agents Wilbur DeParis and Vic Dickenson. This band was also fortified with the presence of trumpeter Sidney DeParis, drummer Cozy Cole, and flashy amplified guitarist Napoleon "Snags" Allen, who is heavily featured on "Fish Market," a rocking blues that sounds a bit like "Tuxedo Junction." After Eldridge savors a pretty air called "Twilight Time," he leads a charge through "St. Louis Blues." Running the changes as fast as he can through a muted horn, Eldridge fires off a rapid stream of lyrics, turns Franz Jackson loose for a scorching hot tenor solo, and heads up an explosive hot finale.

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